Home Brentwood BUSD Superintendent: An Open Letter to the Golden State Warriors

BUSD Superintendent: An Open Letter to the Golden State Warriors

by ECT

An open letter to the Golden State Warriors,

You let our students down and I want to bring it to your attention so it does not happen to any other children. On Friday, October 21st, our award winning Bristow Choir, under the direction of former state music teacher of the year Mark Morello, performed the National Anthem for the fifth time on your arena floor. They have been invited back repeatedly because they sound better than most high school choirs, let alone middle school choirs.

What should have been the highlight of these 11, 12 and 13 year-olds week, month and year turned out to be anything but. Two days prior to the game, you informed Mr. Morello that only 30 students would be allowed on the floor because of a “NBA Rule Change.” This was after months of rehearsal and practice, parents and family members buying tickets for the game and many opportunities for you to communicate this new rule to us. We were not new to the process, as again this was our fifth performance. The rule change was even more puzzling since the choir is scheduled to have 58 students sing the National Anthem at the new Sacramento Kings arena this season.

Despite repeated pleas, you refused to allow 13 of the choir members who had rehearsed and purchased tickets to perform during a preseason game. Then you refused to consider providing refunds for families who had purchased tickets and whose children were prevented from performing. You did allow 13 children to stand and watch the performance on the court and you can see them in white shirts in the photo above. It makes zero sense to me why it was better to have them stand there as opposed to sing with their choir. Finally, you didn’t turn on the microphone during their performance, so even the parents who had spent hundreds of dollars to come to the game could only see their children sing, not hear them. The way you handled this situation brought deep disappointment and heartbreak to many of my students and families.

You may have beaten Portland that evening in your final preseason game, but you lost in so many other ways. Lifelong Bay Area residents and Warriors fans, like myself, have embraced this team because of the selflessness and class consistently on display in your organization. I realize that the National Anthem performance during a preseason game is likely item #1,625 in the list of things you concern yourself with, but for these kids it was an experience they will remember the rest of their lives. You let them down.

As superintendent of the Brentwood Union School District, I could not be prouder of the professionalism shown by Mr. Morello and by the courage and perseverance shown by the Bristow Choir during this unfortunate incident. They gave their best and deserved yours. Please look at your communication and organization to ensure this does not happen to any other school children. Thank you.

Dana Eaton
Superintendent, Brentwood Union School District

You may also like


Go Warriors Oct 28, 2016 - 5:09 pm

the superintendent in his letter mentioned an NBA rule disallowed this, so, it was only the Warriors following their rules. Though sad and wrong the NBA should hear this also. I would encourage the superintendent to forward this great letter to the commissioner of the NBA as well.

Nick Oct 28, 2016 - 10:03 pm

As disappointing as it was to the students, rules are in place for a reason. Follow the rules. Go Warriors!

Kevin Cummins Oct 29, 2016 - 1:25 am

Life goes on. I am sure no intent was meant to let anyone down (obviously). Something was overlooked somewhere and human error is always a learning experience. I had a similar situation when my daughter was to sing for a SF Giants home game (my sweet Molly was bounced from the performance). We still had a wonderful night out rooting on the home team and sweet Molly was the star of my evening – performance or no performance.

Penny F. Porchen Nov 1, 2016 - 6:24 pm

I agree, Mr. Cummins, that life goes on. Our household is constantly talking about life lessons, looking for the silver lining, rising above the disappointment and doing your best, etc. etc.

We also talk about our responsibilities to make things right when we have made a mistake. If the mistake was OURS, that we did not communicate in a timely manner and it cost someone else a big chunk of money, a simple, “I’m sorry,” is disrespectfully insufficient. While we may not be able to afford to totally right the wrong financially, a special acknowledgement would be appropriate (hand written note with a gas card, food card, or something that would be related to the incident).

It is also important to take into account the people involved. Me forgetting about meeting a friend for coffee isn’t going to have nearly the negative implications as, say, me forgetting to show up to my kid’s school play. It sounds like your situation was very similar except your situation doesn’t sound like it involved thirteen additional kids, their families, travel expenses to/from, tickets that would not have been purchased otherwise, etc.

I’m sure you meant to be sympathetic to the situation but I got the feeling you were being more supportive of the Warriors.

Nick, yes, rules are in place for a reason. However, it is extremely difficult to understand a rule that allows a portion of the students to stand on the center of the floor while a portion of the students stand a few yards away. Rules are usually made for a reason and an explanation of the reason behind the rule would have been appropriate since the way it was handled seems so odd.

Kirtland Stout Oct 29, 2016 - 10:31 am

It’s true that “rules are in place for a reason,” but it’s just as true that the reasoning behind many rules is specious and ill conceived. Surely the Warriors organization could have made the rule known to the school weeks if not months in advance, and surely the Warriors organization could have petitioned the NBA for an exception to the rule. My take on the whole episode is that the Warriors forgot why they exist as a sports organization. It’s not for the game itself, and it’s not for the overpaid millionaires who bounce the ball on the hardwood floor; it’s supposed to be for the fans. It has little to do with basketball and everything to do with those who come to or tune in to see the game. I’m with the superintendent and the kids/parents on this one.

Julio Nov 5, 2016 - 3:12 pm

The Warriors quit being about the fans when they priced us all out of attendance. We quit watching them period. Sorry they did this to all the kids, Yes there are lessons to be learned but the Warriors need to learn some lessons too.

Comments are closed.